Three Graduations

I’ve been to three graduations in three days, at Mount Vernon High School, Quander Road School, and West Potomac High School. All were filled with joyful grads and proud parents. All included speeches filled with advice and hope for the future. All were happy occasions.

But the graduation at Quander Road school was something special. These are kids who have, by any measure, overcome special challenges. They spoke openly about what had brought them to Quander–“When I was a heavy drug user,” one began. Another said, “After my parents kicked me out.”

Yet there they were, all having met the Virginia graduation requirements. In a moving ceremony, each graduate was given a rose to present to the person who had been most responsible for his or her success. The flowers went to grandparents, parents, teachers, and friends.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

There are a lot of ways we can and must improve our public schools. But on graduation day, it’s OK to also recognize the hard work that helps so many kids get a good start on achieving their dreams.